In January of this year, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) reported it had obtained more than $3 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases involving the False Claims Act (FCA) in fiscal year 2019. Of the more than $3 billion recovered, $2.6 billion relates to matters that involved the health care industry, including drug and medical device manufacturers, managed care providers, hospitals, pharmacies, hospice organizations, laboratories, and physicians. According to DOJ’s announcement releasing its annual civil fraud statistics, this is the tenth consecutive year that the DOJ’s civil health care fraud settlements and judgments have exceeded $2 billion.
As in previous years, most of the government’s settlements and judgments were filed under the FCA’s whistleblower qui tam provisions that allow whistleblowers to file lawsuits alleging false claims on behalf of the government and share up to 30% in any recovery. Recoveries in whistleblower suits brought under the FCA’s qui tam provisions totaled over $2.1 billion in fiscal year 2019. During the same period, the government paid out $265 million in awards to whistleblowers, a decline from the prior year. The number of qui tam suits under the FCA has grown significantly since 1986, with 633 qui tams suits filed this past year, an average of more than 12 new cases per week.
The DOJ continues to use the FCA and other civil remedies to “deter and redress fraud” by both individuals and corporations.
To learn more about FCA matters, please contact our office.